Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Multicultural Technology Leadership: Tablets and Blogs

Over the past several years we have measured technology use and adoption at the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University. We have consistently found that emerging minorities tend to lead in most areas of technology adoption. In 2012 with the cooperation of Research Now and the leadership of Ms. Melanie Courtright, we again collected an online national sample composed of Hispanics and Asians born in the US and those born abroad, in addition to African Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites. We used the country of birth as a proxy for acculturation to see if technology adoption varied accordingly.

Tablets are creating chaos in the computer industry because consumers are adopting them and discarding laptops, desktops, and netbooks. The following chart shows how adoption of tablets varies of by cultural group and by place of birth.

As can be seen, Asians born abroad exhibit the largest penetration of tablet current ownership and also their projected ownership in the next year. Their affluence and technological savvy may account for this trend. Hispanics not born in the US are the second group in their ownership of tablets, and their minority counterparts follow them closely. Non-Hispanic Whites, however, lag substantially. This speaks of the technology eagerness of minorities and their leadership in technology adoption.  The differences, however, appear to vanish when looking at aspirations for the next year. Thus, minorities innovate but tablets are becoming very desirable overall.

Having a blog should be a good indicator of innovativeness in web communications. The following chart illustrates the penetration of blog ownership in different cultural groups.

Current blog ownership is highest among Asians, followed by Hispanics. African Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites lag. Tendencies for the next year vary and highlight that those not born in the US are more interested in having a blog, both Latinos and Asians. African Americans also show the aspiration to have a blog in a year in sharp contrast to their current blog ownership. Non-Hispanic Whites seem less eager to have a blog now and in the future, and interestingly Asians born in the US are at the same level as Non-Hispanic Whites in their future blog ownership.

Overall, these trends are puzzling and definitely should ignite the imagination of technology marketers. The relative popularity of blogs and their future growth indicate the social eagerness of minority groups. Culturally, blogs provide an outlet for creativity, expression, and a voice that minorities did not have before.  Marketers can take advantage of this eagerness by using these growing blogs as advertising venues for reaching out to minority networks, for example.

The phenomenal adoption of tablets and their appeal for the near future are more striking.  Mobile advertising will become increasingly powerful and tablets will be the new platform for communication. That minorities are leading now should give food for thought to marketers that are trying to predict future trends and understand where their brands will be in the near future.

The data for this study was collected by Research Now of Dallas, Texas, thanks to the generous initiative of Ms. Melanie Courtright. Research Now contributed these data to the research efforts of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University. This online survey included the responses of 936 Asians (398 US born), 458 African Americans, 833 Hispanics (624 US born), and 456 non Hispanic Whites. This national sample had quotas for US region, age, and gender to increase representativeness.